School of Pharmacy Profile: Wilkes University Nesbitt College of Pharmacy and Nursing

A “Newer” Pharmacy School
Beginning the Journey in PGY1
Community Pharmacy Residency
Training by Developing Two
Different Models of Programs

Wilkes University Nesbitt College of Pharmacy and Nursing

Julie L. Olenak, PharmD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice;
Clinical Pharmacist and Residency Director, Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy - Dallas, Pennsylvania

The School of Pharmacy at Wilkes University, located in a small community in northeastern Pennsylvania, offers two community pharmacy residency programs. By coincidence, both programs began in July 2009, but they are managed under different models. Julie Olenak is the residency director for the university-sponsored community pharmacy residency program at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Additionally, as a pharmacy school faculty member, Olenak provides patient care services at the pharmacy. The second residency program is run as a partnership with Hartzell’s Pharmacy in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. Wilkes alumni Vincent Hartzell, PharmD, and Kristen Hartzell, PharmD, approached the School of Pharmacy about partnering in the venture. As opposed to the Medicine Shoppe, in which a full-time faculty member (Olenak) is the residency program director, in this model a full-time clinical pharmacist (Kristen Hartzell) on staff at the pharmacy serves as the residency program director. “These variations in program design demonstrate that a community pharmacy residency is flexible enough that you can make it viable using various different models,” remarks Olenak.

Olenak trained as a community pharmacy resident at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “I’ve always been very passionate about patient education and care, and training pharmacists for more advanced activities,” she remarks. Olenak wanted to share her passion with other student pharmacists. One of her primary goals as a new faculty member at Wilkes was to establish a community pharmacy residency. “I made it clear that it was one of my career goals when I came to Wilkes,” explains Olenak. She also chose Wilkes because of its location. “I wanted to be somewhere that did not have much advanced patient care taking place so that I would have the opportunity to bring these services to a new area.”

Olenak’s desire to bring a residency to Wilkes was a good fit for the university. The School of Pharmacy was relatively new itself, having started its first class of students in 1996. The university had already established a hospital residency and a second-year residency in ambulatory care. Having a community pharmacy residency program supports the university’s image as a small institution that is able to offer more personalized education. “Mentoring is our brand both at the university and school of pharmacy level,” explains Olenak. The program is consistent with the mission of the Department of Pharmacy Practice to create meaningful learning experiences, improve patient care, and promote professional scholarship. She notes, “Receiving support from the school has been important for my development as a faculty member and for my satisfaction.” In addition to supporting the university’s image, the residency also increases the number of available experiential training opportunities in the community setting in which high-level patient care is practiced.

Both residency sites provide IPPE and APPE rotations and are among the most popular community rotations available. Having community residents involved in activities with student pharmacists provides the students with role models. The number of student pharmacists interested in pursuing residencies has increased since the program was implemented. The residents and community pharmacy faculty alike have increased interest in advancing community pharmacy practice and have been essential in redesigning the way students are trained for the future. Residents are involved in multiple patient care services at the pharmacies and have the opportunity to either develop a new service or enhance a current service.

The Medicine Shoppe resident has focused on a residency project assessing pharmacy student perceptions of their ability to provide advanced patient care in the community setting, while the Hartzell’s Pharmacy resident is working to survey patient attitudes toward implementing a new patient care program. Both residents participate in a teaching certificate program, which includes facilitating pharmacy practice labs, delivering a pharmacotherapeutics lecture, and having responsibility for a section of a service learning course. Because of Olenak‘s full-time position at Wilkes, there are additional teaching opportunities if the resident is interested in academia.Upon completion of the program, residents are well prepared to become either advanced practice pharmacists in a community setting or pharmacy faculty members. “Having more faculty trained in this area is essential because currently there are not enough residency-trained individuals to staff community faculty positions,” points out Olenak. As pharmacy moves toward the JCPP Future Vision of Pharmacy Practice, it will be essential to have enough training programs to prepare graduating pharmacists. “It is very rewarding to be training the future leaders of the profession,” she remarks.

In addition to providing faculty development and scholarship, the residencies provide an opportunity for the practice sites to expand their patient care offerings. “We are seeing an increasing demand for services and it is very rewarding to help train and prepare future leaders of community care,” notes Olenak. Looking forward, Wilkes continues to seek opportunities to expand residency programs and is working toward establishing a third community pharmacy residency at another local pharmacy. “As we prepare for the future of community pharmacy practice, it is essential to increase the number of advanced training opportunities so that there are enough practitioners who are prepared to deliver emerging patient care services.” Olenak notes that identifying funding sources for developing residency programs can be an issue, but it is possible to develop viable business plans that meet a variety of school and practice site needs. “Developing a residency does require an investment, but it is incredibly rewarding,” Olenak concludes.